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National Lemonade Day Recruiting young people to learn more about entrepreneurship, Monroe County hosts the opening event for 2024



Monroe County, Indiana – The 2024 kickoff of the Monroe County chapter of Lemonade Day, a national youth entrepreneurship initiative, took place on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at College Mall. Children could register for the June 22 event starting on March 2.

Michael Holthouse, a businessman, founded Lemonade Day in 2007 as a free community-wide program to teach kids about entrepreneurship. Kids who take part learn how to launch, manage, and run their own business—a lemonade stand—given the necessary supplies. This is the eleventh year of the program in Monroe County, which is run by The Mill and the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington.

Leaders of Lemonade Day erected several kiosks throughout College Mall to enlist kids in the initiative, provide them with educational materials, and give away free T-shirts to those who signed up. Lemmy, the lemon head mascot dressed in a yellow outfit, was available for photos on Lemonade Day.

Children who set up stands on June’s Lemonade Day will have the opportunity to have their location displayed on maps in their local newspapers and on social media in the days preceding the event, encouraging neighbors to attend.

Past Lemonade Day city director Ashley Wesley of the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington. She was manning a booth at the play area of the mall, just outside Target.

“They can set up stands at a business, or at their home, and they get to keep all of their profits,” Wesley said. “They learn essentially how to set up a business from creating a business plan, asking for investments, getting materials together to actually selling the product and reaping the benefits of raising money.”

According to Wesley, the goal of the inaugural event was to sign up 300 kids for the June 22 Lemonade Day. Leaders of Lemonade Day report that 755 kids signed up for the 2023 event.

“It’s important to teach kids resiliency,” Wesley said. “Teaching them how to build their own business gives them a lot of confidence. It teaches them about interpersonal interactions, communication skills – it really builds resiliency and grit.”

The current city director of Lemonade Day, Laura Blaker, set up shop in the College Mall food court to assist children who were interested in signing up. Numerous kids who took part in previous Lemonade Days, according to her, return for the kickoff.

“Today, we are only here getting kids registered,” Blaker said. “After today, we will be out and about throughout the community, at school carnivals, any kid related event getting kids signed up for the program.”

In addition, on June 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Mill, Lemonade Day of Monroe County will hold an open house called “Lemonade Day University” with stations teaching kids about a variety of subjects, including food safety, product development, customer service, and financial literacy.
The kickoff is intended to inform people about the program and commemorate the first day that registration is open.

“When we do this, it’s great because we will have repeats come here just to sign up,” Blaker said. “But then it’s wonderful that we are educating so many other people in the community about this wonderful entrepreneurship program that we put on.”

The family of Kristina Hobbs-Ragan was at Blaker’s booth enrolling their daughter, who is twelve years old, for the 2024 competition. She had registered the previous year and was meeting a buddy at the mall to do so this time.

“I think it was one of the biggest things that she’s done that really boosted her own confidence,” Hobbs-Ragan said, “It was the first time she had done anything like that herself and it was running her own business. It was a pretty big deal.”

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